Stress Solutions: Pray, Plan, and Practice

Mar 6, 2011, Written by Sue Miley

Things aren’t going very well at work.  You can’t put your finger on it.

Sure the economy isn’t great, but that didn’t effect you last year.

Your employees aren’t any different than usual.  You are actually putting in more time and effort.

The only thing going up is your stress level!

Or maybe for you, things are different.  Your team isn’t as good.  Or you have been distracted for the last few months.

It has begun to impact your business.

Still, even understanding it, you are stressed!

What happens when you get stressed?

I know for me, my type A personality pushes over my peaceful, easy going persona, and takes over.  This “me” wants to fix it and fix it now.  My natural tendency a decade ago was to start making changes.  What we are doing isn’t working so we need to do something different.

There were two problems with this.

One, I was trying to fix everything in my own strength.  I was not connected to God and I was not asking Him for help, or anyone else for that matter.  I would rally my troops and we would make it happen!  Kind of like the two year old’s “I can do it by myself!”  I need to remember His Words:

Psalm 118:14
The LORD is my strength and my defense ; he has become my salvation.

2 Corinthians 12:10
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Two, the ongoing stress impacted me physically.  I had the constant knot in my stomach and was regularly clenching my jaw.  Usually by mid-day my intense concentration had given me a headache.

The people in my work and life can surely tell the difference.

Have You Been On the Receiving End of the Stress?

I have also been on the receiving end of a stressful boss/owner who didn’t try to buffer their stress from anyone.  They may not have felt any physical symptoms because they surely didn’t hold it in.  However, the collateral damage to the people  around them was at times devastating.

In the end, many business owners will fail, some will stay afloat, but are we really succeeding?  In God’s eyes, if we pull out all of the stops, and through our own personal physical and mental will, are able to turn things around, are we a success?

Jesus Gives Us The Way To Be Different

I don’t want to join the ranks of the bosses or owners whom half of the adults on Facebook are complaining about every morning.

As a Christian in business, I surely don’t want my team to wonder where God is in my life.

And I surely don’t want my family to ever have to suffer with living with the stressed out, adrenaline burning, type A mother and wife who used to show up at the dinner table.

Since becoming a Christian, I found a better way.  Or more accurately, God provides a better way.

I’ve categorized it into a 3 part process:

  1. Pray – We need to truly devote time to praying about our businesses. I discuss prayer and provide many suggestions for integrating prayer into our business (even if it isn’t a Christian product or service) in my new home training program – The Christian Business Edge.
  2. PlanPlanning what needs to happen, after spending time in prayer, will help you make the wisest decisions and will result in the most efficient use of your time. The opposite, reacting, many times results in poor decisions and more time and energy fixing the mess we created.
  3. Practice – Growing up we learn to practice to get good at something: sports, music, and other disciplines.  We don’t seem to practice anymore in business.  Why is that?  How can you practice your business skills to do what you do better?

There is so much to say about dealing with stress through these three areas that I decided I needed to break it up into a couple of posts. This is the overview.  There will be more this coming week.

As you contemplate stress in your life; remember stress is a natural reaction to situations that have a high amount of risk for us personally.  How we respond to stress is up to us.  Having dealt with much stress without God, and over the past decade with God, I choose Him!

What about you?  How do you deal with stress in your business?  Does God play a major role?

Reader Interactions


  1. David Rupert says

    Stress is an amazing thing. It causes physical illness, lack of focus and the inability to perform. We don’t prevent stress, we go back and try to put a band aid over it. Loved this post

  2. Keith says

    Hi Sue,
    You’re really getting to the “heart” of the matter for me with this series, I look forward to the rest.
    This post is especially powerful: Where do we get the notion that we *have to* or that we even *can* “fix everything on our own strength? I mean, looking at this objectively, approaching life this way sounds patently arrogant to me.
    Thanks for your focus on this Sue, keep it up!

    • S_Miley says

      Hi Keith,
      Yes it is arrogant and I guess that is why they say pride comes before the fall! I used to try to do it all on my own. It didn’t work out so well! Thankfully, God is good and waiting on us to turn to Him!

  3. Jon says

    You asked:
    “How can you practice your business skills to do what you do better?”

    I sing and take voice lessons. I know how to ‘practice’ at that: I research the songs, I memorize lyrics and learn notes, I figure out what the lyrics mean to me and connect with them emotionally, then I make sure I know they best way for my voice to hit all the notes. Only after that do I start to actually sing the song from beginning to end. If there are parts that don’t go well, I back up and do them again several times until I can get them right consistently.

    So, see if it makes sense if I apply that process to practicing my business skills:

    1. I learn notes and memorize lyrics: study best practices, read about leadership and management – memorize the key points, methods and processes
    2. I connect emotionally to the song: Figure out the “Why” behind the business principles/skills you are practicing.
    3. Find the best way for my voice to hit the notes: know your strengths and weaknesses – personalize your approach to these skills accordingly
    4. Start singing and working on the rough parts: put the new skill to use and see how I do – have a way to measure if I’m ‘on pitch’

    Now that I thought that through, it occurs to me that many singers make the mistake of skipping #2, and #3. Maybe that is true for business owners, too?

    • S_Miley says

      This is awesome Jon, I am working on the final post about “practice” now – this gives me food for thought! One of the thing I particularly like is how you sort of went through an exercise of where you do practice and transferred the steps to your work – a type of visualization. Everyone practices at something…this could be an action step for them to visualize other things they practice and apply to their business. Love the process.


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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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